Whither the institution of the American musculature-oriented entertainment union? WHITHER?!?

Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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12 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    As forms of entertainment go, Professional Wrestling is fairly young (it only dates back to the 1880s or so) and such being put on television only dates back to the 40’s and 50’s and the shift to focusing on guys being interviewed beforehand only dates back to, what? The 60’s?

    The past is another country. In our culture our familiarity with promos includes, at least, The Rock or Stone Cold.

    To compare someone who is, effectively, not very good at a particular skill around the time of the birth of that particular skill is tacky, dude. Tacky.

    It’s like pointing to the movie of the guy sneezing and saying “BORING”.Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t think this constituted the “birth” of acting and scene writing, nor did it even constitute the “birth” of the genre of wrestler performance, which is why many of his associates were doing much better at the same time in the same pursuit. It’s certainly nice of you to stick up for the guy, though.Report

    • Keljeck in reply to Jaybird says:

      The wrestling in IPW wasn’t that good either.

      Randy Bryant sells like Shelley Levene.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Keljeck says:

        Going back and watching some of those old matches, I am struck by how far the art form has (and has not) evolved.

        Bruno was champion from 1963 to 1971. Think about that! 12 years! And he put them in the seats the entire reign. You watch one of his matches and it seems like the match (all 30 minutes, all 45 minutes, all 60 minutes) consists of 80% rest holds with a flurry of activity at the 10 minute marks and the finish.

        More recently, we’ve seen hour-long matches between, oh, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Remember that one? That one was a (pardon the term) slobberknocker compared to Bruno’s.

        Of course, Bret Hart is walking wounded and Shawn Michaels has a spinal column made out of half-sucked lifesavers with metal rods sprinkled throughout.

        Back in Bruno’s day, they wrestled in such a way that you could wrestle well into your 40s and 50s… and today we’re seeing wrestlers wearing knee braces in their 20s… and that’s not getting into the body counts.Report

  2. Jon Rowe says:

    Now that you’ve laid down the gauntlet I feel the need to respond with my knowledge of 1980s surreal wrestling examples. Has this site yet been exposed to the Andy Kaufman affair — the real thing that the Jim Carey movie was based on?Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to Jon Rowe says:

      Probably not, but the same guy who sent me this has also found some very interesting old sketches from Fridays in which a young Larry David – who has aged very, very well, having looked terrible back then – does a terrible monologue and is clearly aware of how badly he’s fucked up, as well as at least one sketch in which they actually explain the premise immediately beforehand.Report

      • Jon Rowe in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        I don’t know if I’ve seen them; but I have some of the older LD stuff where he’s got a Larry Fine like hairdo. There are clips of him and Woody Allen together. When I first saw Seinfeld/the George Costanza character, WA was the first thing that came to mind. I thought it detracted from the authenticity of the GC character to make him non-Jewish. But whatever….Report

  3. Heidegger says:

    You mean, Tony Clifton?Report

    • Jon Rowe in reply to Heidegger says:

      TC was just one element. Along with Jerry Lawler, David Letterman, wresting women on SNL, My Dinner With Blassie. The documentaries they made about Kaufman were better than the “Man on the Moon” movie.Report

  4. Keljeck says:

    Every pro wrestling promo distilled to its essence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXSUXQBVUqUReport

  5. StrongStyle81 says:

    Check out Botchamania.com, the videos that guy put together are great including funny interviews like that.

    I always thought the pro wrestling had one of the most interesting histories of any entertainment industry. I would like to see a multi-part documentary on its history like that of Ken Burns’ series on Baseball. There is a lot of interesting stuff to cover.Report